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Evil Is Art, Murder Is Art, Torture Is Art: On Lars von Trier's 'The House that Jack Built'

It isn't entirely irredeemable, but The House that Jack Built's familiar gimmicks say much more about Lars von Trier as a brand than as a provocateur or artist.

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Shameful Exposure

A fiery Kate Winslet saves morality tale in 'The Reader' while a similarly powerful Meryl Streep can't do the same for the overly certain 'Doubt'.

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The Reader

Most obviously, Hannah is unfathomable, the feminine object Michael must figure out and overcome in order to "become a man."

Film

The Annihilating Feminine: Kate Winslet Gets Nasty in The Reader

In Winslet’s clever, low-key performance, all of the character’s ambiguousness remains intact, making Hanna her most complicated, mature creation to date.

Reviews

Youth Without Youth

"You learn more quickly, more profoundly in dreams" -- the audience becomes a part of the hallucinations.

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Vitus

Vitus is as thoughtful as it is heartwarming, its languid pace providing interesting juxtaposition to the story of a boy forced to grow up too fast.

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Youth Without Youth

Based on the writings of Mircea Eliade, Francis Ford Coppola's first movie in 10 years is goofy, contrived, and self-absorbed.

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Vitus (2006)

Vitus explores the demands placed on children generally through a special and contrived case.

Reviews

Downfall (2004)

Eva and Hitler kill themselves off-screen, the precise steps they took unseen because, the director says, 'the worst thing that could happen to this most horrible person of history is that he become a myth'.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Downfall (Der Untergang) (2004)

Downfall's preoccupation with a flesh-and-blood Hitler is central to its meditation on fanaticism.

Lester Pimentel
Reviews

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Demme's movie reasserts that the fabled U.S. political landscape isn't transparent or democratic, but instead, corrupted by the individuals who manage it.

Cynthia Fuchs
Film

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate draws a line between the corporation and the government, sustaining a hope that the U.S. system might be salvaged by an honestly free election.

Cynthia Fuchs
Reviews

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) (1987)

Wings of Desire is the most optimistic of films, finding freedom and potential in the quotidian privileges most of us take for granted.

Michael S. Smith
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